More Americans have adopted pets since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, and those furry friends are having a big impact on the kinds of homes they desire.

Home buyers and renters alike are both prioritizing the needs of their pets when looking for a new place to live. According to a 2021 study by the National Association of Realtors, 43% of pet owners are willing to move to better accommodate their pets, while 68% would pass on an otherwise perfect home that didn’t suit their pets, according to a 2020 survey by Realtor.com.

Another more recent survey from NexMetro found that consumers say they’re spending more time with their pets and are showing an increased desire for more pet-friendly conveniences.

“As we ease back into a post-pandemic lifestyle, we see residents and potential residents at our communities nationwide making significant changes to accommodate their pets’ needs—even more than they did in the past,” said Josh Hartmann, CEO of NexMetro Communities, a developer of luxury leased-home neighborhoods.

The top amenities that pet owners say they’re looking for include a fenced-in backyard, durable flooring, trails and sidewalks in the neighborhood, adequate square footage and outdoor play areas.

“In the past, individuals may have been comfortable in an apartment with their pet,” Hartmann said. “However, once they began working from home, or spending more time at home—they sought more space for themselves and their pet. They are focused on what they perceive will create an enhanced quality of life for their pets.”

NexMetro is building communities that are prioritizing pets. For example, the company’s Avilla Homes neighborhood in Arizona offers single-family rentals with sidewalks, green spaces, and animal play areas that encourage pet ownership activities and connection, they say. Each detached rental home also includes individual yards for pets. Inside, the homes have easy-to-clean hard-surfaced floors and pet doors.

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